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Monday, February 25, 2008

Only Visiting this Planet

This is a weepy day for me. After riding a high last night at Foo and having a bit of a crash this morning because of the adrenaline crash and 3 hours sleep . . . then the emotion of “Once” and the Oscar . . . to some sad news about someone who changed my life—and I can only say that about a few people.

When I was 11 years old I started going to a middle-school youth group where I met a man named Larry Espedal. Larry was the epitome of cool to me and he listened to some great music. At the time, my dad was still fighting a battle with alcohol and Larry embraced me and loved me through it. One of the most significant things he did for me was give me an album collection of a guy named Larry Norman to listen to.

As a long hair hippie kid who was trying to play guitar and learn who he was musically and spiritually, Larry Norman impacted me in a huge way. I learned all the songs. I played them and sang them on guitar. I asked to sing a song in church but I was told I couldn’t sing, “gonorrhea on valentines day and you’re still looking for the perfect lay” in church. Even though the following line was, “why don’t you look into Jesus—He’s go the answer.” Larry Norman changed my life.

The honesty. The music. The look. The feel. The rebellion. The stand. The voice. The risks. The message.

So when I got the news of Larry’s home-going this morning I had to sit for a bit and take it in. Process it. Relive memories.

This is a reprint from Larry’s website.

Thanks Larry for speaking in to the life of a kid who has since fallen in love with Jesus.

Hello everybody.

Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday morning. Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on how to continue his ministry and art.

Several of his friends got to come and visit with him in the last couple of weeks and were a great source of help and friendship to Larry. Ray Sievers, Derek Robertson, Mike Makinster, Tim and Christine Gilman, Matt and Becky Simmons, Kerry Hopkins, Allen Fleming and a few more. Thank you guys. Larry appreciated your visits very much. And he greatly appreciated the thoughts, wishes, support and prayers that came from all of you Solid Rock friends on a daily basis. Thank you for being part of his small circle of friends over the years. Yesterday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming typed these words into Larry's computer:

I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.



Thank you to all of you who were so nice to my brother over the years. Kristin and I will post funeral information in the next day or two. Right now we're not able to function very well, but the whole family is here... our mother Margaret, our sisters Nancy and Kristy, Mike Norman and his new wife Tiffany, and Silver.

We miss him beyond words. Thank you for everything.

Peace to you all in Christ,

Charles Norman


Anonymous said...

Hey bro,
I read Charles' and Larry's words just before reading your email - pointing me towards your blog. I am blown away by Larry's word picture of being God's prize! He was quite a man and had impacted me so much to me too. The rebel that stood unflinchingly for the good news. Maybe better put, the outlaw.
What a mess this world is in...well, Larry visiting hours are over for you my friend.

John said...

Yeah, Scotty . . . something else.

Anonymous said...

Whoah! (if you couldn't tell I'm catching up on my blog reading). Larry's going home is huge to me. I too, like you was hugely impacted by this guy. It's a long story but it starts by my coming to faith in Christ becoming a radio broadcaster at 17 working at a Christian radio station and discovering "In Another Land." It changed me. Years later I booked a series of concerts for Larry with Sheila Walsh and got to know him personally. Although I haven't seen him in years and we didn't stay in touch. I miss him.